One of the reasons I started blogging years ago was to try to be to someone else what I wish someone was to me. There are so many things that I had to learn the hard way. When I started leading in kidmin there weren’t blogs, twitter, or even that many conferences. I learned many things the hard way but not everything because I was fortunate to be hired by one of the best leaders I know. He doesn’t have a blog but he has a legacy that is far-reaching I have learned much from his leadership. I also have also been blessed to work alongside some of the best leaders I have ever met. I love the team I am a part of and much of what I know and who I am is because of their voices and their influence on me.
That being said I want to start a series of posts that address some of the things that apply to all leaders but especially young leaders. The rise of the internet and social media has been an amazing thing but it has its downside as well. I want to do a few posts where I break down some of the traps that young leaders fall into that derail them from being what God wants for them to be and from doing what He wants them to do.
Before I dive into these topics I would like to offer this disclaimer. I am not perfect and have MUCH to learn as a leader. I do however feel that if I can help others avoid the mistakes I and others have made it’s worth my time because it builds the kingdom. So for the next few days, I want to cover the following topics.
1. Listen: The most important skill you can develop is the ability to listen.
2. Experience: Lack of experience is actually a good thing.
3. Ego: The Church does not need brilliant personalities
4. Influence: The worst thing that could happen to you is gaining a platform
5. Gospel: What you believe about Jesus and His Church will decide who you become
Everyone is a critic. Don’t believe me? Go on-line to Facebook or twitter during an awards show. Don’t believe me? Ask someone how they feel about a local restaurant, if they like your new haircut, and where you should go on vacation.
We all love to share our opinion. We love it when people ask what we think. Where we tend to have a hard time is when people share their opinion with us. Especially when that opinion is different than ours or when it is aimed at us specifically.
Everyone is a critic but no one likes to be criticized.
One of the best things we can do when others criticize you is to take a look at yourself and ask what does this criticism tell me about me?Here are some of the things that I have found in my life criticism tells me about me.
1. It shows me the things in my life that I hold onto more tightly than I do Christ. – The things that matter to me more than anything else hurt far more when they are poked at by others.
2. It reminds me that I need to care what others think about me but not how often they think about me. We need to care about others but not to the point that our identity and security is informed by what they think about me.
3. It helps me find a joy that is real. It frees me from the need to be loved by others. Jesus said in Luke:
Luke 6:26 26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
4. Criticism allows me to a small extent identify with Christ. He was rejected by God and man for us. He was separated from his father so we never have to be. The problem with most of us is we exchange beauty and honor of partaking even in a small portion of the suffering Christ experienced on our behalf because we value comfort and the opinions of man.
1 Peter 4:12-14
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
If you want to ensure your kids will be on the “The Bachelor”
1. Never show your daughter physical affection.
2. Teach your kids that connections are more important than commitment.
3. Teach your kids there is no consequences for their behavior.
4. Give your kids whatever they want.
5. Teach your kids that their self-worth is tied to people’s acceptance of them.
The next thing ever parent must do to ensure that their kids will end up on “The Bachelor” is teach them that connections are more important than commitment.
If you have watched more than one episode of The Bachelor I know that you will join me in a collective gagging sound whenever you hear the word “Connection.” They use it ALL the time. “I feel like we have such a strong connection.” “I feel like we really connected, our connection is so different from the rest of the girls here” It’s so shallow and such a travesty that we have reduced a monogamous committed marriage between a man and a woman to goose-bumps felt over a glass of champagne.
In The Bachelor this guy dates all these girls telling each of them that he feels a “real connection” with each of them, they all fall in love with him and he sends them home devastated because no one taught them a connection is not a commitment. Our culture preaches if it feels good do it, divorce is always an option and that falling out of love is as easy as falling into love. We have to change that for our kids.
When I first started leading elementary and preschool environments, I had no problem leading and recruiting elementary volunteers, preschool was a different story. It wasn’t until I came understand what makes preschool ministry so amazing. The biggest game changer in preschool ministry and recruiting people to help in preschool ministry comes when you understand that you may be the first person to introduce a preschool to Christ. It’s a huge honor to serve in preschool ministry. To help shape a child’s first understanding of who Christ and what he did for them is amazing.
Here are 5 actions every preschool teacher needs to take.
1. Smile, love the kids you serve. Let them see in you the fruit of the Holy Spirit that is a result of a Christ-centered life.
2. Make sure the snacks are good. – Two things no preschooler ever needs is stale goldfish and stale faith.
3. Use snack time to drive home truth. Preschoolers don’t move and don’t talk and listen most while they are eating. Use those few moments well.
4. Remind kids – 1. Jesus loves them 2. We love you. 3. We all need God’s help
5. Practice consistency and flexibility they are your two greatest friends when working with small people.
As a father one of the best things I can do for my boys is to teach them how a man acts. With the lack of positive male roll models in the media and the general confusion of roles in society today, if you don’t take time to intentionally teach your boys how to be a man they will grow up confused at best.
I have two boys and one girl and boys are very different than girls. Here is what I find with our boys they learn through repetition they push back more than my daughter, they learn from watching me more than I realize. It’s important that I have intentional conversations with them about what a man is and what a man isn’t. It’s important that I do this often and in various ways. It’s also important that I model to them what a man does by how I treat my wife.
Here are some of things I tell my boys men do:
1. Protect those who are smaller and weaker than them.
2. Tell the truth
3. Work hard
4. Ask for help when you need help
5. Trust God more than you trust yourself.